Over the past three decades investment in cultural infrastructure – new performing arts centres, museum extensions and whole cultural districts – has become a familiar tool in urban strategies, place-making and branding around the world. Moreover, cultural organizations both large and small have sought to define themselves as much as community anchors, generators of social capital, promoters of social cohesion, as they have as hubs of artistic innovation or conservation.
But the context in which cultural organisations are operating today is changing rapidly, and this will in turn, affect how they contribute to the quality and texture of urban life going forward. The longer-term effects of Covid 19 and growing pressures of climate change, combined with new tech-enabled possibilities of remote working, are changing the way we live, work, socialise, and travel, stimulating a new interest in more localised lives centred around resurgent town centres and neighbourhoods.
Supported by knowledge partner Global Cultural Districts Network, this Urban Age Debate brings together emerging and established policy makers, academics, and culture leaders to rethink collaboration between the city, community, and culture today and over the next decades.
Elaine Bedell (@ElaineABedell) is the Chief Executive of the Southbank Centre, the UK’s largest arts centre. She has worked for over 25-year in media, having senior roles at the BBC and ITV, where she produced some of the UK’s most popular entertainment titles. Elaine served previously as Executive Chair of the Edinburgh International TV Festival and was appointed a Trustee for the V&A Museum by the British Prime Minister in 2015.
Gabriella Gomez-Mont (@Gabriella_Lab) is the Founder of Experimentalista, a novel creative studio that specialises in cities, public imagination, and system change. She is the former Director of Laboratorio Para la Ciudad, the award-winning and experimental think tank of the Mexico City government. Gabriella is a documentary filmmaker, visual artist and journalist. She has worked as a creative advisor to several cities, and is a TED Senior Fellow, an MIT Director’s Fellow and a Yale World Fellow.
Andreas Görgen (@AA_Kultur) is head of the German Foreign Office’s Culture and Communication Department. He began his professional career in 1996 at the Berliner Ensemble theatre before moving to the École Nationale D’Administration in France. He has worked in the public film finance sector and was a consultant to State and Federal management teams. Prior to joining the Foreign Office, Andreas held senior roles in the energy sector with Siemens south-west Europe.
Adrian Ellis (@adrianellis_aea) is the Director of AEA Consulting and Chair of the Global Cultural Districts Network, a network of over fifty cultural districts committed to improving the quality of urban life through knowledge-sharing in the arts and culture and creative industries. Adrian is a board member of New York's Poets House, and a past board member of the Getty Leadership Institute, and the National Museums and Galleries of Wales.
Ricky Burdett (@BURDETTR) is Professor of Urban Studies at the London School of Economics, Director of LSE Cities, a global research centre at LSE, and co-founder of the Urban Age.
Twitter hashtag for this event: #UrbanAgeDebates
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